Dog Burglars

Our dogs are becoming criminal masterminds when it comes to food.

Court Docket # 101D 

Defendant:  Daisy


Crime:  Sneaking the poached eggs off of her male human’s plate when the humans weren’t looking, and then messily devouring them on the female human’s nice kitchen rug

Sentence:  Fifteen minutes in her room, loud voices yelling at her and no pig’s ear treat that morning before the humans left for the day


Court Docket # 101S

Defendent:  Sammy


Crime:  Eating an entire bowl of dark chocolate-covered cranberries that a female human unwittingly left out on the coffee table while the humans were away for the evening

Sentence:  A very bad stomach and three, elaborate wretching sessions which produced three, gigantic piles of sick


And Mayor White says that our city’s crime rate is down…

One Scoop Or Two?

And while we’re on the topic of beverages, the coffee snobs have come crawling out of the internet woodwork over at FARK today after someone made the mistake of innocuously asking, “How many scoops of coffee do you put in the filter basket? The directions on mine say to put a scoop per cup. That seems like a lot of freaking coffee.

They’re up to 272 replies in less than two hours. That’s roughly 2.6 replies per minute. I guess the good folks over at FARK take their coffee pretty seriously.

On the upside, there have been some very entertaining posts scattered among the trolls (“I have the servants force feed coffee beans to a Indonesian civet cat- who, in turn, relieves itself over the expresso machine.”) and coffee nuts (“I use 25g per 500ml of water in my French Press.” and “Seriously, if this is too difficult for you maybe teabags are the way to go.”), such as this expertly-drawn diagram:


And this classic Terry Tate: Office Linebacker commercial:

“You kill the joe, you make some mo’!”

How do you take your coffee? Me, I’ll take pretty much whatever you hand me as long as it’s not decaf, although I am partial to my French press over a drip machine any day…

Otto’s and Beaver’s (oh, my!)


This was the scene at Otto’s this past Saturday afternoon, around 11:45 am. Not exactly as I expected, given that old friends and patrons only have a short — albeit indeterminate — amount of time left to eat there before it’s closed for good.

Strangely, when I checked back to re-read my original entry on Otto’s upcoming closing, the link to the Houston Chronicle story I’d referenced was no longer working. Even better, their “search” function comes up with absolutely no articles for Otto’s or Otto Sofka or any other combination of “Otto’s” and “barbeque” and “hamburgers” that I could come up with. I mean, I’m not surprised — the Chronicle‘s archive and search features are a bit of a laughingstock — but I was still irritated.

To that end, here are two new links concerning Otto’s that aren’t broken and which are much more informative than the original Chronicle article was in the first place: Original Otto’s barbeque up for sale and Family sale signals farewell to Otto’s.


My father and hubby and I were in the mood for barbeque on Saturday and had originally intended on trying out the new Monica Pope joint, Beaver’s. However, after driving down to the little ice house off Washington and, in the process, getting hit by a car who was broadsided by an 18-wheeler, both of whom peeled off as fast as they could (true story…but we’re all fine and I’m glad we were in my Sherman tank of a Volvo at the time), we were heavily disappointed to find it closed for lunch.

Having done research before embarking on our Beaver’s journey — hitting up Beaver’s website,, Citysearch and Alison Cook’s blog — I knew what I wanted to eat before we even set foot out the door. What I did not know, however, were the hours of operation, because they weren’t listed at all on Beaver’s website or on any other place that I checked (that said, the only place I’ve found so far with operating hours for Beaver’s is Dai Huyhn’s article, where it’s ambiguously stated that lunch service will begin in mid-January).

Was I stupid to assume that a brand-new barbeque place would be open for lunch on a Saturday? I suppose so, since we were greeted by an empty parking lot and a paper sign on the door with the business hours. To quote Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer, it was “information that could have been useful to me yesterday.

Geez, Ms. Pope. Is it too much to at least post the hours of operation on Beaver’s website? That’s all I’m saying…


Anyway, it worked out for the best, as we all decided to visit Otto’s for one last time as a group. After we walked into the barbeque entrance, my father stood still and took a deep breath. Looking around fondly, he said, “That’s the smell of a lifetime of barbeque. Can’t beat it.”

My father and husband ordered their Bush plates and they worked their way through them as I slowly enjoyed my links covered with onions and pickles. The dining room was vacant save for an older man, who seemed to be a semi-permanent fixture. All of the women manning the barbeque counter knew him, as did all of the busboys. He sat perfectly content with his plate of ribs, his cowboy hat perched on the table next to him and his eyes staring off into space as he dined.

Was he thinking about Otto’s closing? Was he contemplating all the meals he’d had there, the accumulation of which eventually led to his camaraderie with all of the various restaurant staff? Was he trying to figure out exactly how many root beers and ribs he’d had over the course of his friendship with Otto’s?

Whether he was thinking about these things or not, I was. I watched him and wondered where he’ll go when Otto’s is gone.



From the sick minds who brought you “The Life And Death Of Ice Cream” (see last week’s post: Your Moment Of Zen), the folks at MindPie have also created a meditation on the life cycle of bananas:

The video gets fairly dull towards the 0:40 mark, but it’s still fascinating to watch the bananas slowly droop — sad and abandoned — before finally blossoming with dark spots in only a matter of seconds.

At least the music is slightly less insidious this time.

And since it wouldn’t be YouTube without a snappy comeback, here is a video response to “The Life And Death Of Ice Cream” entitled “The Life And Death Of A Tomato”:


Merry Christmas From The Family

No, my family is not quite as bad as the eponymous Family from the famous Robert Earl Keen song (what? you don’t know that song? go here posthaste and familiarize yourself with this holiday classic!). We don’t serve bean dip or Diet Rite at our Christmas meals. And we don’t use cans of fake snow. And we don’t have relatives that drive in from Harlingen and park their motorhomes on the front lawn.

But we do have our share of holiday moments each year, being thismuchremoved from the boonies of East Texas.

This year’s festivities included a bird getting trapped inside of the house, me trying to chase it back outside and my ever-helpful husband following behind me with the video camera, giggling hysterically while hooting “This is going on America’s Funniest Home Videos!”

Great. As if I didn’t hate that show enough, now there’s the very real possibility that my husband is going to send in footage of me in pajamas, with crazy hair and brandishing a rake, tear-assing after a tiny wren while shrieking to Richard, “You’re not exactly helping, asshole!”

The festivities also included my father and brother bringing back a big buck from the deer lease. So, in lieu of the leg of lamb that was originally planned, my folks went to work preparing the deer for our big feast.  My father spent all day Monday cleaning the carcass in the backyard and carving out some venison steaks for Christmas dinner. And then my mother spent all afternoon Tuesday soaking it in milk in an effort to reduce its gaminess while making side dishes to accompany our venison feast.

For Christmas dinner, we had the venison steaks with a — for lack of a better word — confit of red onions, Maytag blue cheese, golden raisins and pine nuts, with sides of potato and leek gratin and some delicious little peas. It was a beautiful dinner. My mother had laid out the table on par with any Martha Stewart production and the food was plated brilliantly. Everything was quite posh, all in all.

As we all sat down and joined hands to say grace — our heads bowed in thoughtful reflection and the scent of venison wafting gently towards us — my father began to pray: “Dear tiny infant Jesus…” and the whole table just lost it in fits of howling, snorting laughter.

We can only keep our inner rednecks inside for so long, it would seem. Hope you and yours had a merry Christmas, too!

Where in dreams I live with a memory…


As you may or may not have guessed by the headline (…I’m betting on “may not,” unless you’re an old school country music fan), I’m heading to San Antonio for the weekend.  Richard and I have a wedding to attend and — in my down time — I’ll be doing spreadsheet-intensive work for the Day Job.  So that means no updates this weekend.  Hey, at least I’m telling you in advance.

Until I get back, I’ll leave you with photos from this evening’s meal: Hearty Tomato and Bean Soup with Beer-Cheese Bread.

The batter smelled like, well, beer. But in that lovely, cool, fresh yeast-y way. And it smelled even better coming back out of the oven.


Look at all the happy veggies, swimming around in the velvety tomato sauce together! I basically threw in every vegetable I had in my fridge and freezer; this is one of those great “clear out your fridge” recipes.


A close-up of a fault line that developed on the bread, barely exposing the sweet, fluffy interior. I don’t care if it isn’t technically called a “fault line.” I just really enjoy saying “fault line.”


And a final, parting shot of the warm bread.


Good night and happy eating till I see you on Monday!

The Almond Gods

God bless the vendor who sent a Christmas package of roasted almonds to the office this morning.  I am in Almond Heaven and the Almond Gods are smiling beatifically upon me today.


The best part of Christmas isn’t the lights or the decorations or the cheer in the air or even spending time with loved ones; it’s the holiday gift baskets from vendors.